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The Nonprofit Legal Blog
by T.S. Wrobel & Associates
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THE MAJOR DUTIES OF 501(c)(3) NONPROFIT BOARD OF DIRECTORS
A nonprofit’s Board of Directors functions as the governing body of the nonprofit and has an overall responsibility for the organization. The role of the Board of Directors is to act as a group making decision to further the purpose of the nonprofit. Some of these decisions and responsibilities are:
1. Provide continuity for the organization by setting up a corporation or legal existence, and to represent the organization's point of view through interpretation of its products and services, and advocacy for them. It is the responsibility of the Board of Directors toselect and appoint a Chief Executive to whom responsibility for the administration of the organization is delegated, including:
- To review and evaluate his/her performance regularly on the basis of a specific job description, including executive relations with the board, leadership in the organization, in program planning and implementation, and in management of the organization and its personnel.
- To offer administrative guidance and determine whether to dismiss or retain the executive.
2. Govern the organization by broad policies and objectives, formulated and agreed upon by the Chief Executive and employees, assigning priorities and ensuring the organization's capacity to carry out programs by continually reviewing its work.
3. Acquire and manage sufficient resources for the organization's operations and to finance the products and services adequately
4. Account to the public for the operations and services of the organization and expenditures of its funds, including:
- To provide for fiscal accountability, approve the budget, and formulate policies related to contracts from public or private resources.
- To accept responsibility for all conditions and policies attached to new, innovative, or experimental programs.
5. Determine the organization's mission and purpose and monitor the organization's programs and services.
6. Ensure effective organizational planning.
7. Enhance the organization's public image.
8. Assess its own performance
Tips on Board Recruitment
- Limited or have no family relations on your Board of Directors, unless a private foundation, because of conflicts.
- Do not involve business relations due to conflicts.
- Choose Board Member’s whose skill sets will support the nonprofit’s mission – a lawyer, an accountant, individuals in the business world, person knowledgeable in the area of the nonprofit’s purpose, or members of the community served by the nonprofit.
- Select a Board of Directors that is committed to the nonprofit’s mission.
This list was compiled from various writers and texts; including: Brenda Hanlon, in In Boards We Trust (as slightly modified by Carter McNamara to be "Nonprofit/For-profit Neutral") and BoardSource, in their booklet "Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards."
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